The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has awarded micro-grants to Non-Governmental Organizations and cluster groups of Non-governmental Organizations and Community-Based Organizations.
These NGOs and CBOs are organizations working in the area of human rights, justice, rule of law and governance as a whole. The grantees were selected by a multi-institutional selection committee consisting of representatives from the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, UNIPSIL, UNIFEM and UNDP.
The selection committee reviewed and selected these 10 grantees from over 60 proposals that came in from both members of the CSO-UNDP monthly consultative forum and the general public.
To enhance the capacity of the civil society organizations in this country, UNDP in April 2008 institutionalized its engagement with the civil society by instituting a monthly consultative forum on the state of human rights, justice, rule of law and governance as a whole in Sierra Leone. In September 2008 the forum held its first capacity building workshop on monitoring and advocacy on economic, social and cultural rights.
As a logical sequel to the capacity building workshop in Bo, these grants are being handed out to the civil society organization to implement quick impact community-based projects that will not only strengthen their monitoring and advocacy capacities but would also assist in the development of the communities in which they carry out their activities.
Engaging governments generally on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ECOSOC) rights, if done very carefully in an informed and professional manner could elicit responses that contribute to accountability; since engaging government is about calling on it by CSOs to show how state resources are being put to use to protect rights such as health, education, housing, and others. The government then has to explain steps it is undertaking, under the applicable regional and international human rights standards, by embarking on policies and strategies to implement the rights in question.
Government shoulders the burden to demonstrate that within its resources, including international assistance, it is progressively implementing the rights. Where challenges are faced it should be pointed out and CSOs must also be prepared to propose alternatives to help government as a form credible critique. This support therefore aims at providing a basis for a constructive national development dialogue.